If you're tired of running or pumping up seemingly endless hills
on a bike, it's a good time to give swimming or water aerobics a try. You can get a good workout, bask in the sun and be refreshed
all at the same time.
And if you get hooked on swimming laps or water aerobics or
"aquasize" classes, there are always indoor pools when summer's over.
Easy on the Body
The key benefit of water workouts is that unlike other conditioning
programs, participants rarely suffer from injuries.
"About the only injury you'll see with swimming is shoulder
tendinitis," says Anthony Boettcher, a swimming instructor. "Swimming is something that you can do throughout your life. I
teach a master's class where some of the participants are 70 years and up in age. It's probably the best workout available
for someone that age and they're in really good shape," he added.
Boettcher also suggested interval programs that will vary a
swimmer's heart rate during a workout.
Freestyle, Butterfly, Breast Stroke
Like any workout program, the harder you work the more you'll
get out of it, but an hour of swimming is roughly equivalent to an hour of riding a bicycle, as far as burning calories.
The front crawl, or freestyle, stroke—where your head
is down in the water—is the primary stroke for lap swimmers. The butterfly, back and breast strokes add variety while
utilizing different muscle groups.
Unless you're training for a triathlon or swam for your high
school team, it might be wise to take a few lessons in order to maximize your time in the pool. Go ahead and buy some goggles
before you take that first lap, you'll be glad that you did.
Water aerobics is perfect for anyone who is having problems
with sore knees or ankles. Kerri Polifka, a fitness program coordinator for a park and recreation district in Denver, said
her classes range from startup classes for those new to working out to, deep-water classes for those who are already in good
Polifka said a typical workout in her class starts with warm
up and toning exercises, then a cardiovascular segment that is more intense and finally toning using water dumbbells or Styrofoam
noodles. The obvious benefit in water aerobics is the resistance from the water and how hard you work against it.
Choose a Pool
When you decide to hit the water, look for pools that offer
a lot of open pool time for lap swimming and/or plenty of lap lanes and also those that have a variety of water aerobics classes.
Check to see if the instructors are certified and find out how long they've been teaching their specialty.
and universities usually offer classes and open pool times, as do park and recreation districts and YMCAs.
— Mike Robuck